Pictures not only speak; they get more views, credibility and engagement than words alone. A column on the Memphis Daily News website highlighted this trend. Photos have become the new universal language for the younger generation, a movement propelled by social media sites like Pinterest. Consumers want authenticity, and that’s what drives sales.
The National Retail Federation is challenging a pending settlement in a seven-year case, saying it still does not settle fears of credit card companies increasing swipe fees in the future. An article on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website reports the NRF is leading the charge against a settlement over allegations that two major credit card companies conspired to fix fees.
Customer service is about the little actions, rather than idealistic and grand mission statements. An article on Inc.com referenced a story about a leading online shoe retailer whose service reps even provided phone numbers for pizza delivery when asked. When customers sense goodness, they want more of it. For a company, that translates into increased sales and brands the company as caring and trustworthy.
The retail industry isn’t just about product sales. It also offers opportunities for good pay and job growth. A recent column on the Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph’s website highlights the economic contributions the retail industry should get credit for, such as offering jobs for teens and drawing tourists to area businesses. With $3.1 trillion in revenue a year, there is money to be made in retail.
Product sampling, especially for food retailers, is a low-cost and highly effective way to introduce a new product to customers. A National Retail Federation Stores article featured one food company that got a 25 to 30 percent customer conversion rate after it held product sampling events at groceries and community festivals. However, product sampling is most effective for new brands.
Trade association National Retail Federation keeps its finger on the pulse of the industry by conducting surveys, reports and lobbying activities. Recent reports released by NRF highlight industry growth, an increase in spring spending and loss prevention methods. NRF supports a variety of initiatives that help retailers reduce their costs, which can, in turn, reduce costs for consumers.
Security officers can use their knowledge of developmental psychology to effectively address unruly teens in malls. The need to “save face” and a lack of fear of authority are unique characteristics for this age group. Being calm and flexible when you speak to teens can prevent a situation from escalating, effectively creating a pleasant shopping experience for everyone.
Providing details about any criminal history is required on most retail employment applications, but a new movement, backed by guidelines currently under consideration by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, could ban the practice altogether. And where does this leave retailers? Without a crucial part of the hiring process relied upon by nearly 100 percent of retailers.
Employee theft such as “sweethearting,” when an employee gives away products or services for a discount or free, is costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year. The best way to stop sweethearting is by never letting it start. Pre-screening applicants for personality traits and offering ethics training are low-tech, effective ways to combat theft, according to an article in Security Director News.
A vertical mall in New York City is proving that shoppers will explore up to five levels of shopping, an innovative approach that is expanding the entire retail experience. While traffic — and sales — are often larger, it’s a model that works best in high-rent cities like Boston, LA and Chicago. But before you sign a lease, there are some things to remember.
Counterfeit designer clothes are becoming increasingly easy to find but difficult to police. Designers are calling for more regulations and protection, according to an article from CNBC. The issue has garnered new attention with the recent “You Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign, a movement backed by some of the biggest talents in the industry.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.